June 15: Up and out early. We had a nice view at the top of the first cllimb with views of farmland and rolling hills. Looking out from that viewpoint, I had one of those moments; one of those "I can't believe it" moments. For so long, hiking the AT had just been a dream. Something I wrote about in my journal in the list of "someday I will do this". For so long it was just a picture taped up on my wall. But now, now I was actually sitting at a viewpoint, looking out on the farmland below from the Shenandoah National Park, almost halfway through my thru-hike. It's a good feeling to have an "I can't believe this is my life" moment. Onward and upward, up another climb. We stopped at the top for a little snack break and SUbaru and I had a talk about this very thing. And then, we were out of the park. In the blink of an eye, Shenandoah had passed us by. We stopped for lunch at the next shelter and I had the unexpected surprise of green head flies. Oh, I thought they were only at the beach! no, they are here too and their bites hurt just as bad. The funny thing is, I was the only one getting bitten!
After lunch, the Virginia Blues hit. Everyone talks about the Virgiania Blues, and I thought I would get out of the state without experiencing them. But no, here they were.
The thing is, we had descended in elevation and now, in addition to being in "the green tunnel", we were in the green tunnel in suburbia. So the next 8 miles were just about the most boring on the trail. It was like hiking through the paths in the woods behind my backyard. Picture it: go to the path in the woods behind your house. And walk this path. For eight to ten hours.That was king of my day. What a letdown after the morning. At least we hit some trail magic in the last 5 miles. Trail magic makes everything better! This night, after a long day (24 miles) Sub and I both decided to shelter it, simply to not have to put up and take down tents. And we saw a copperhead snake today. Maybe a snakebite kit wouldn't be a bad idea!
June 16: After yesterday, I resolved to stop being negative about the trail and instead think of it as hiking through a conservation area near home on a day off from work. Enough with the "i could have hiked THIS at home" and instead think of how much I enjoyed hiking this at home. We got some nice, unexpected, cell phone coverage at a road crossing so we were able to call our Dads and wish them a happy father's day. And then, apparently the trail had heard my cries of "I'm bored with this" and gave me this:
June 17: Now believe it or not, I did not finish my pint of Ben & Jerry's from the hiker's special. So today, I ate it for breakfast before hitting the trail. (And a Cliff Bar) This day was full of highlights. From hitting the 1000 mile mark
But back to this psychological halfway point. There are actually 3 halfway points on the trail:
1) the psychological halfway point - Harpet's Ferry
2) the actual halfway point - mile 1089.3
3) the halfway challenge point
There are lots of "challenges" along the trail- the 4 state challenge ( walk VA, WV, Maryland, and into Penn in 24 hours) the suitcase challenge (go to Goodwill and buy a suit and a suitcase. Then buy a case of beer. Walk the next 24 miles on the suit, carrying the beer in the suitcase and drink a beer at each mile). For me, just hiking the trail is challenge enough. Except for the halfway challenge. I'm all over that!
It is simply: eat a half gallon of ice cream at the halfway point. I'm pretty confident in my ability to eat a half gallon of ice cream. But let's make it interesting!
If I eat the half gallon, all wagers must donate $5.00 to one of the charities from cool causes.
If I DON'T finish, I have to spend one day hiking listening only to songs suggested by the wagers. (I'll download from iTunes)
It's a win/win situation! Either the charities get some funding or everyone gets a great blog post entitled "the day I listened to nothing but Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Beiber". Probably followed by a post entitled "the night Subaru and Road Runner got up and hiked off without me"
I better eat up!
Leave a comment with the song I should download to play!!